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King Otto set to be removed from Greek hotseat

Sports Desk |
Update: 2010-06-24 01:02:03

ATHENS: Veteran German coach Otto Rehhagel is to be asked to step down after nearly nine years as Greek coach, the Greek Football Federation (EPO) president said on Thursday.

The 72-year-old guided the Greeks to a shock victory in Euro 2004 and qualified them for both Euro 2008 and the World Cup finals, though they exited in the first round on both occasions.

Rehhagel, who was dubbed King Otto for his exploits, has stayed on in South Africa despite the teams first round exit and the federation is awaiting his return so they can hold talks.

"It will be good if we go our separate ways but we must wait until he returns to Athens," said federation president Sophocles Pilavios on arriving with the squad back from South Africa.

Several Greek websites had earlier in the week already said that the coach would be leaving, and that he had said his farewells to the players after the 2-0 defeat by Argentina in their final group match.

A hint that Rehhagel - formerly coach of Kaiserslautern, Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich - would not renew his contract came after the Argentina match when his assistant Giannis Topalidis quit following their failure to reach the last 16.

Rehaggel took over the Greek coaching job in August 2001 and his first match was a 5-1 trouncing by Finland in Helsinki.

But Rehhagel bounced back to lead the team to a surprise Euro 2004 title and participation in Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup.

Rehhagel has been in charge for 106 matches with the Greeks winning 53, drawing 23 and losing 30.

Media reports say that the federation will most likely ask former PAOK Salonica coach Fernando Santos of Portugal to take over.

BDST: 2148hrs, June 24, 2010

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